School safety and school connectedness as resilience factors for students facing terror

Yaacov B. Yablon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The aim of the study was to investigate the mediating effect of school safety and school connectedness on the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and posttraumatic growth (PTG) among boys and girls facing terror. A cross-sectional research design using a nationwide random sample of 609 (54% girls) 9th (25%), 10th (26%), 11th (24%), and 12th graders (24%) from state-run Jewish schools in Israel was used. The participants responded to questionnaires on PTSD and PTG, exposure to terror, school safety, and school connectedness. The findings revealed that feeling safe in school is related to fewer PTSD symptoms, but at the same time to less PTG. Contrary to the research hypothesis, school connectedness was related to more PTSD symptoms, but also to higher PTG. The mediating effects of school safety and school connectedness were related to student gender, because school connectedness mediated the effect of exposure to terror only among boys. The findings also contribute to the theoretical discussion on the connection between PTSD and PTG and reveal that school experiences play an important role in explaining students' resilience when facing terror. Nonetheless, it seems that school cannot be regarded as a monolithic experience, as the same aspects of school experience interact differently with PTG and PTSD. For some students, a positive school experience is related to greater risk for PTSD symptoms instead of serving as a protective factor. The findings stress the challenge facing schools in supporting students who face terror.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-137
Number of pages9
JournalSchool Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Psychological Association.


  • Gender
  • PTG
  • PTSD
  • School connectedness
  • School safety


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